You are the first one to leave work at the end of the day because you have to pick your kid up from daycare.

I feel super awkward walking by my coworkers’ offices on my way out the door but, seriously, that “five dollars for every five minutes past 6:00” policy our daycare has scares me to death. We’re already paying the equivalent of our mortgage each month towards daycare, so outta my way if I’m running late. As it is, I’m always either the last or second-to-last parent picking their kid up right before the clock strikes 6:00, so it’s not like I ditch work early and mosey on over to daycare. I wonder how my fellow coworker parents manage leaving any later.

 

Your nice work clothes always have a mystery stain on them.

Spit-up, poop, pee, food, drool, or all of the above. Really, that spot on your dry-clean only pants could be anything, but you were probably too tired or distracted to notice how it got there. That, or you just don’t care—it all comes with the territory when having a kid. I walked around all day this weekend smelling like breast milk, but didn’t know what article of clothing it was coming from. Hey, it happens—my son and I were a matching set that day.

 

You plan any meetings or commitments around having to pump.

I do what I can to keep to my pumping schedule, and dread when I have to miss or postpone a pumping session. For my own comfort, for oversupply later when my son needs to nurse, for maintaining my supply.

 

Your own brown-bagged lunch looks like a toddlers’.

For example, my lunch today: a PB&J, yogurt, string cheese, pretzels, and an apple. And, um, my son isn’t eating solid foods yet, so those are foods I chose solely for myself. Please tell me those of you with actual toddlers eat lunches like this, too.

 

You’ve spent an excessive amount of time with the IT department trying to get the daycare video monitoring to work on your computer.

And, no, it still doesn’t work. It’s probably all for the better, since I would then spend an equally excessive amount of time watching said video monitor instead of actually working.

 

Your work bag pulls double-duty as a diaper bag.

If anyone at work looked closely at the tote I bring to work, they’d find diapers, wipes, a pacifier, and butt cream inside. I’ve found I can handle only one bag—if I had to shuffle my things back and forth from a work bag to a diaper bag, I just know I’d be caught without a change of clothes during a diaper blowout, or without my office keys on Monday morning. I’m sleep-deprived enough these days; I need all the help I can get. Besides, a purse overflowing with teething toys and burp cloths has proven to be an excellent conversation starter while at networking events, and those of us who attend those regularly know that a creative “in” to a conversation is way more interesting and, uh, memorable.

Your office is an extension of your kitchen’s refrigerator as a showcase for your kid’s arts and crafts projects.

My office houses all of the arts and crafts that comes home from daycare—those things I don’t reeeeeally want cluttering up the house but still can’t bear to throw away. Because OMG MY SON MADE THOSE. I was never really a sentimental person when it came to this stuff but, if it comes from Lenny, man is it tough to throw these things out. So, to the office they go. Never mind that my son doesn’t make any of these creations actually on his own, but his daycare teachers have a knack for using his fingerprints, handprints and footprints to make some of the most adorable crafts ever.

Lenny's fingerprint in a necklace.  I'll never wear it, but now I do see it every day.  Notice also my niece's artwork in the background.  Photo credit Gena Golas.

Lenny’s fingerprint in a necklace. I’ll never wear it, but now I do see it every day. Notice also my niece’s artwork in the background. Photo credit Gena Golas.

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